Men and women: we're not so different. We could debate the stereotypical girl and boy personalities as a nature v. nurture thing, but we won't, because this article isn't about gender studies. It's about Nuvo. Nuvo is a vodka based drink mixed with champagne and passion fruit nectar, described on its website as a "lifestyle choice for trendy individuals." Creator Raphael Yakoby also said of it, "So I was thinking that the female consumer was one of the biggest consumers of these luxury goods brands, and really, as far as the liquor industry was concerned, there was nothing that represented that cachet." "But wait", you may ask, as someone with functioning taste buds, "Does the female consumer really desire a completely separate beverage than the luxury male consumer?" According to the current food and liquor market, they do.
"Girly drinks" have long been a staple of bar culture, and it's true that you'd be hard pressed to find a man comfortable with ordering a "Buttery Nipple" with a straight face. But recently, these girly concoctions have been moving from behind the bar to the liquor store shelves. Pharell's new liquor Qream advertises itself to "the Queen and her court of friends." The website for Hpnotiq, a combination of vodka, juice and cognac, show multiple images of women dancing and laughing with each other. (They've also recently introduced Hpnotiq Harmonie, a blend of "Premium French Vodka, Infused Natural Fruits, Flowers and a Touch of Cognac" for the "Girl's Night Out Crew.") Molson Coors recently released Animee, convinced that the way to make women drink beer is to offer it in flavors like "Crisp Rose" and "Clear Filtered." There's even a chocolate and red wine mixture called Chocovine that totally missed the boat on marketing directly to women, because I can't think of anything that screams "stereotypical movie night with my girlzzz" than chocolate and red wine.
I'm going to put a disclaimer here specifying that I am in fact a lady. And I do enjoy some lady drinks! But I also like bourbon, and gin & tonics and most other non-cloying liquors except for vodka because there was that one game of Never Have I Ever in college that just, oof, no bueno. So as a bona-fide lady I'm finding it equally intriguing and disturbing that such products exist. Mostly, because they are terrible. I have yet to taste a good one of these things! Well, that's a lie. Back when I was first learning to drink, I could not get enough Smirnoff Ice. Or Bacardi Breeze. Whatever malt-liquor sweet thing you had, I'd drink it. Then I started growing up, and nobody had Smirnoff Ice anymore. I didn't miss it, but one night a few years ago a friend of mine and I were all, "OMG we should get some Smirnoff Ice! Like we're 17! We can feel young again!" So we bought a 40 oz. of this stuff and drank it and my god did it taste exactly like dishwater.
It was then that I remembered the judgment. Freshman year of college I was happily ordering Fuzzy Navels and Midori Sours with the rest of them, frequently giving myself heartburn but not really putting two and two together, since my main goal was to get wasted without "suffering" the taste of alcohol. Until one night, the older, female bartender shot me a look. "Seriously?" she smirked. I didn't get it that night, but it put some sort of necessary shame into me. Not shame at enjoying sweet things, but shame at ordering complicated cocktails with ridiculous drinks when a jack and coke is as sweet as any of them. Unfortunately, many women have never had a friend slap the Zima out of their hands and set them straight, and as a result kept drinking these things even after they were legally allowed to drink (because let's face it, the 21+ crowd is probably not Hpnotiq's biggest consumer).
As much as I don't want to admit it, many women like being pandered to this way. They want to buy into the differences between men and women, and enjoy a product that's been created just for them, even if it's disgusting. And all the ads reflect this, with either men ogling women in bikinis while sucking down beers or women enjoying their "girls nights" with something pink in a martini glass. There is one ad that perhaps looks to a better future, which is to say it's still awful but goes sort of in the right direction. It's a Bud Light ad, where sexy lady aliens come down to earth and are all "we need earth men to pleasure us or everyone dies or something. We'll give you men Bud Light if you come with us." And the men all run off to protect their planet, leaving the women all alone. At which point the women bust out six-packs of Bud Light and are all "Yeah!! No men!! Let's lezz out!!" Unfortunately, Bud Light is about as appetizing as a warm glass of Qream, but at least the women here are actively excited about consuming something that in all other ads is reserved for men. Maybe the day will come when the idea of women enjoying beer is less of a punch line and more of a reality. But women have to put down the Hpnotiq first.